Saturday, March 17, 2012

India stingy on farm research budget

T.V. Padma in Agriculture research continued to get a back seat in India with the country’s budget allocation for the scientific sectors seeing an 18 per cent overall hike that favours the strategic sectors of atomic energy, defence and space.

While India’s finance minister Pranab Mukherjee announced two billion Indian rupees (US$ 39.8 million) "to incentivise agricultural research" in his 2012-13 budget speech on 16 March, the hike was a mere 7.6 per cent over 2011-12.

Meagre crop research spending, at a time when the country is grappling with suicides by farmers due to heavy crop losses and mounting debts, contrasts with new allocations for a mission to Mars and a 51 per cent hike for space research.

The three strategic departments of atomic energy, defence and space together cornered about half the total outlay of Rs 402 billion (US$ eight billion) for science. Taken together, research in agriculture, health, atomic energy, defence, earth sciences, environment and forests, new and renewable energy and space saw a hike of 18 per cent...

A farm in Shahada, Maharashtra. Shot by Raama, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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